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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Welcome to the darker side of AICN! Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. This week, we’ve got an odd gathering of horrors for you. Every week is a bit odd in this corner of AICN, but this time it’s especially off kilter. So if you enjoy horror that is off the cuff and bent in many wrong directions, this is the week for you. But some weeks…some weeks watching these films is more work than fun and this is definitely one of those weeks. There’s some rough stuff ahead, folks. A few diamonds, but still a lot of rough stuff. You’ve been warned.

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On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

The Boo Tube: REALLY WEIRD TALES (1987)
EVIL BONG: HIGH 5 (2016)
Advance Review: LEAD ME ASTRAY (2016)

Retro-review: Released this week in the BLOOD BATH Limited Edition Collection from Arrow Video/MVD Visual!


Directed by Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Written by Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Starring William Campbell, Marissa Mathes, Lori Saunders, Sandra Knight, Karl Schanzer, Biff Elliot, Sid Haig

TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE (1967, television release)

Directed by Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Written by Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Starring William Campbell, Marissa Mathes, Lori Saunders, Sandra Knight, Karl Schanzer, Biff Elliot, Sid Haig
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

This new BLOOD BATH BluRay Box Set from Arrow Films tells a pretty amazing cinematic tale. Roger Corman bought the rights to a film called OPERATION TITIAN before it was made. But after seeing the film, he was dissatisfied with it, so it underwent numerous transformations through the next few years and was released under different titles. Last time, I checked out OPERATION TITIAN and PORTRAIT IN TERROR, two films that focused on a cursed painting and a murderous artist. These flawed films made way for Corman to redo the story over again with BLOOD BATH (which was released a year after PORTRAIT IN TERROR was in theaters), this time tossing a vampire into the mix to see if that would get folks to see it.

In BLOOD BATH, there is still a painting, an artist, and a gal being obsessed over, but while there are a few scenes taken from PORTRAIT IN TERROR and OPERATION TITIAN, the film is basically a new film made by SPIDER BABY director Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman. It is rumored that all of the quirky art stuff was from the twisted mind of Hill, while some of the creepier vampire stuff was from Rothman. While it still manages to tell a tale of obsession in the art world, this one focuses on Antonio (William Campbell), an artist who turns into a vampire once his libido is sparked by any woman he comes into contact with. A rival artist provides some commentary about the absurdity of modern art appreciation while trying to get to the bottom of Antonio’s Red Dead Nudes paintings, which are taking the art world by storm.

I liked this version of the film much better than the previous two. While the first two films seem to want to say something about art, obsession, and love, Hill adds the pretentiousness to the artists that the previous films lack. Hill, whose absurdist takes can be seen throughout SPIDER BABY, handles the vapid nature of artwork with a tongue planted in his cheek and even brings his SPIDER BABY cast member Sid Haig along as part of the peanut gallery who are bowled over by the most inane pieces of artwork. There’s also a pretty horrifying final sequence as the dead bodies covered in wax inexplicably revive themselves and attack their murderer. What began as a thriller with only hints of horror in OPERATION TITIAN, has morphed into a true horror film in BLOOD BATH.

TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE only adds a bit more from previous incarnations of the film to extend the film by about ten minutes. There’s a longer dance sequence, a conversation between characters that is lifted from PORTRAIT IN TERROR at the nightclub which opened that film, and an extended few minutes of footage of the vampire stalking his prey on a beach. The beach chase is rather pointless as the girl really doesn’t have anything to do with the plot and though it is a vampire chasing the gal, it’s obviously a daylight scene, which doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. The chase, which goes from land to the beach and even to an undersea wrestling match, is rather exciting, but still seems out of place in the less-action centric story we see for the rest of the film. This may, though, be the only film to ever depict a vampire drinking blood from his victim underwater (he does it twice in this film, actually). This version neither really adds or detracts from the film, but only adds to the body count and most likely makes the film more suitable to be shown on television (so that Corman could get a few more bucks out of this film.

Still these added scenes make for a more fleshed out movie and it feels like with TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE, Corman finally gets the movie he wanted to make. It’s more along the lines of another Corman film A BUCKET OF BLOOD, which has a similar message to tell about how idiotic art appreciation can be at times and how the artist is most often full of shit and not even aware of what makes his artwork sing to the masses.

Stories such as these (which reminds me of the KIDNAPPED COED/AXE films by Frederick R. Friedel which were edited together to make one single Grindhouse opus called BLOODY BROTHERS) make me miss the anything goes antics of drive-in theaters where the same film makes the rounds under different titles through the span of time. Along with the four films in this Limited Edition BluRay Box set there is also a visual essay called “The Trouble with Titian” which talks about the rocky production history of the films, an interview with actor Sid Haig, an interview with SPIDER BABY director Jack Hill, outtakes, stills, a booklet of stills and interviews about the various productions, and a wicked ass poster. All of it, most likely, better more than this feature deserves, but still a thorough coverage of the film nevertheless.

Retro-review: New this week on BluRay from Kino Lorber!


Directed by Don McBrearty (“Cursed with Charisma”), John Blanchard (“I’ll Die Loving”), Paul Lynch (“All’s Well That Ends Strange”)
Written by David Flaherty, Joe Flaherty, John McAndrew (“Cursed with Charisma”), Catherine O'Hara (“I’ll Die Loving”)
Starring John Candy, Sheila McCarthy, Christopher Januszczak, Don Lake, Wayne Robson, Shirley Douglas, Patricia Hamilton, Eric Keenleyside, Clifton Maslen (“Cursed with Charisma”), Catherine O'Hara, John Hemphill, David McIlwraith, Jayne Eastwood, Paul Soles, Madeleine Atkinson, Paul-Emile Frappier, Debra McGrath, Cindy Patterson, Barbara Wheeldon, Philip Williams (”I’ll Die Loving”), Martin Short, Donald Harron, Olivia d'Abo, Deborah Hancock, Astrid Falconi, Georgia Steele, Bob Lem, Bob Bainborough, Bruce Pirrie, Jennifer Inch (“All’s Well That Ends Strange”), & Joe Flaherty as the Host!
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Seeing stars in their formative years as entertainers is always kind of fun, and while none of the three tales featured in the HBO anthology mini series REALLY WEIRD TALES are particularly great, they do exude a type of fun that makes them more watchable than enjoyably watchable.

Segment one, “Cursed with Charisma.” features the late, great John Candy, and it pretty much is as good as this three part anthology gets. This is all because of Candy’s performance as a silver haired swindler who convinces the town to get involved in real estate, though his get-rich-quick schemes don’t really take into account taxes. Candy is given some great moments to shine here, evoking James Brown as his henchman tosses a cape over him as he collapses after a speech, only to toss the cape off again and talk some more. If there is an episode worth seeking out, this is the one, simply because there are so few Candy performances that haven’t been played and the man really was a gift to comedy who passed too soon.

”I’ll Die Loving” takes second place in this collection as Catherine O’Hara plays an orphaned girl who is cursed to destroy anything she ever loves. Raised in a convent by mean nuns, she is set out on the street to fend for herself and gets a job in a complaint office in a department store so she can’t have feelings for anyone in this aggressive environment. A lecherous co-worker and an overly nice boss end up the target for her affections even though she tries not to feel anything for them. This one earns it’s REALLY WEIRD TALES moniker as the ending comes out of the blue and really is pretty weird and random. I liked this one, if only because of the odd sense of humor this one possesses.

The last installment, “All’s Well That Ends Strange,” is the worst of the bunch, mainly because it’s Martin Short doing an annoying Jerry Lewis like performance the whole time. Short plays a lounge singer who never made it big, but he is invited to a Playboy Mansion-style home to perform and thinks its his big break. After the performance he meets the woman of his dreams (Olivia d’Abo). Of course, there’s a twist and this one is rather predictable all the way through. And while there have been times when Short has entertained me, he is particularly grating here, making this my least favorite of the three.

All of these installments are hosted by the always fun Joe Flaherty, who also co-wrote all three installments. I was more of an SNL follower than an SCTV watcher, but this film seems to be close in tone and sense of humor as a lot of those SCTV skits. But while a lot of talented folks came from that show, REALLY WEIRD TALES doesn’t really stack up to it.

Retro-review: New this week on BluRay from Arrow Films/MVD Visual!


Directed by John De Bello
Written by Stephen Andrich, John De Bello, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace
Starring Anthony Starke, George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron, Steve Lundquist, John Astin, Charlie Jones, J. Stephen Peace, Michael Villani, Frank Davis, Harvey Weber, John De Bello, Ian Hutton, Rick Rockwell, Costa Dillon
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Proving that I will truly watch any kind of horror for the sake of this column, I sat through RETURN OF THE KILLLER TOMATOES this week. The film admits that it is bad, but still manages to be worse than that and a true chore to sit through. Still, there are a laughs to be had and of course, an early appearance by the Clooney, so completists of all things horror and Cloon will most likely need this one.

It’s a short while after the first attack of the killer tomatoes and the world has adjusted to the tomato uprising by banning all forms of tomatoes. Pizzas are made with other semi-fluid food-stuffs like peanut butter and jam and tomatoes are bought and sold in back rooms like hardcore narcotics. But Professor Gangreen (ADDAM’S FAMILY’s John Astin) is trying to reignite the tomato uprising by creating muscle-bound Tomato People who can disguise themselves as harmless tomatoes when music is played. Only a pair of pizza salesmen (Anthony Starke and BATMAN & ROBIN’s George Clooney) seem to be able to thwart Gangreen’s plans with the help of a little fuzzy tomato named F.T. and a woman turned tomato named Tara (Karen M. Waldron).

Jeezus, this was awful. Just…awful. Even when this movie tries to reference the fact that this is an awful film, I don’t think it really is able to fathom how bad it really is. It feels like the stars involved are genuinely trying to deliver comedic performances and try to get laughs, but none of them (not even Clooney) is able to exude any of them. The one laugh I had at this film is from a clip from the original ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES when a man smugly says “Tomato” in a crowded library and all of the people sitting and reading run in panic in all directions while the man smiles at the camera. ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES was bad enough, but at least it had a pre-Troma-esque quality of fun to it. This one is written horribly and acted in the same manner.

If ever George Clooney needs to eat a portion of humble pie, he should check out this film as the outspoken political actor and activist is simply awful as the sex-crazed buddy of the protagonist. He takes part in the film’s most annoying scene (one in which the film runs out of money mid-way through and requires product placements in order to make it to the end, so Clooney and a customer swap brand names like Coke and Oh Henry candy bar names while smiling to the camera), and adds very little but sincere masochism to the film by conning women to sleep with him while promising a date with Rob Lowe (another sign of the times this was made in). This film was made during the time when Clooney (much like Zoolander) had one look which is tuck your chin to your chest, look up, and shake your head like a bobble-head every time a line is delivered and it is prominently on display in every scene Clooney is in.

I will admit that the songs in RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES are most entertaining parts of the film. There is a self-referential hokey-ness to it that made me smile. I also liked the bookends of the film which take place during a Saturday afternoon movie show that admits that this is a horrible film. While I can’t say these portions had my knee sore from all of the slapping, I will say they were the least excruciating parts of this film. Still this film is lame from stem to gooey center and I find it hard to really know who to recommend this film to other than those I wish horrifying and scorching discomfort. This special edition contains a new commentary with Director John De Bello as well as an interview with star Anthony Starke, as well as a collector’s booklet containing behind the scenes pics and an essay from critic James Oliver.

New this week on DVD and digital download from Full Moon Films!


Directed by Charles Band
Written by Charles Band, Kent Roudebush
Starring Sonny Carl Davis, Robin Sydney, Amy Paffrath, John Patrick Jordan, Chance A. Rearden, Mindy Robinson, Rorie Moon, Jacob Witkin, Jonathan Katz, David DeCoteau, David Del Valle, Luke Hutchie, Orson Chaplin, Circus-Szalewski, K. Harrison Sweeney, Noelle Ann Mabry, Tian Wang, Jinhee Joung, Skin Diamond, Adriana Sephora, Cameron Dee, Rob Vardaro, Alan Maxson, Bob Ramos as the voice of the Gingerdead Man/Ooga Booga, & Michelle Mais as the voice of the Evil Bong!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Continuing the seemingly-never-ending EVIL BONG series, Part 5 (cleverly subtitled HIGH FIVE) opens with our dimwit crew of stoners chilling out in the Bong-verse. Soon their mellow is harshed when the Evil Bong aka EeeBee (voiced by Michelle Mais) appears and vies for world domination again. This time, the Evil Bong sends series stars Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis), Larnell (John Patrick Jordan) and the Gingerdead Man (voiced by Bob Ramos) back to earth to make millions of dollars selling primo weed and drug paraphernalia in a pop-up store. Shy about a million dollars from their million dollar goal, the guys find themselves in danger when EeeBee comes a callin’ for her money!

Oh how the mighty have fallen. I remember when Full Moon was synonymous with low budget, but inspirational horror films like PUPPETMASTER. It’s sad to see Charles Band’s name attached to this film as he is a filmmaker who was a bright shining star in horror in his heyday. Seeing him resort to lame puppet effects and pot humor stuck with spit and duct tape to a threadbare script that copies beat for beat from the previous installment of this series (which wasn’t very good either—see my review of EVIL BONG 420 here) is simply disappointing.

One good thing about this film is that is most likely cost Band absolutely nothing to make. Just over an hour long (because that’s probably as long as the attention span was of the stoners behind this film), EVIL BONG HIGH FIVE is shot pretty much in entirely in front of a green screen. For additional scenes in the real world, the film is shot entirely in one room decked out with stoner paraphernalia as well cheap dolls that are made to represent characters from the EVIL BONG, OOGA BOOGA, and GINGERDEAD MAN series. Band, ever the salesman, uses the latter half of the film to shamelessly advertize mini-dolls from these films which seem shoddily made and are racist/homophobic/misogynistic as hell with characters named “The Gook,” “The Butt Pirate,” and “The Skank.” Knowing his audience, Band also throws in a pair of boobs about every five minutes here and I must admit, these glimpses of woman parts are the highlight of this otherwise terrible film.

It all ends with a promise of another EVIL BONG film, most likely hastily made in an afternoon and distributed a month after to drooling potheads everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with weed, but this weed-centric film is pointless and painful to sit through.

New this week for digital download on Troma Now!


Directed by Alberto Genovese
Written by Massimo Vavassori
Starring Marco Antonio Andolfi, Alessandro Bianchi, Giovanni De Giorgi, Paola Masciadri, Massimo Muntoni, Alberto Pagnotta
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Troma has always been the place to go to for offbeat and odd films, but I think they might have topped themselves with DOLCEZZA EXTREMA, renamed SICK SOCK MONSTERS FROM OUTER SPACE and released on their Troma Now online film program. The film is made against a green screen so animation and backgrounds can be added in later. On top of that, all of the main actors are oddly shaped sock puppets and toys. To make matters even odder, the entire film is in Italian. Intrigued? Then press on to the rest of this review.

I have to admire the conviction that filmmakers Alberto Genovese and Massimo Vavassori have with this film that obviously was a passion project for both. There’s an expansive world laid out in this film that spans this galaxy and the next. There is an entire mythology to this film, that, like it or not, is impressive as more thought and care is put into this film than most horror films I view here on AICN HORROR. The plot, which inexplicably involves the transport of tanning beds and ultraviolent light to the four corners of the galaxy by a ragtag band of pirates, involves many characters spouting lines that actually are pretty prolific and interesting (at least their Italian translations are, that is).

On top of that, the construction of the sock monsters themselves are unique and interesting. A lot of time and craft went into this film and I have to bow my head to it for that. Was it entertaining? Sure, I guess, in a way. I think it was difficult knowing where the head and tails were for some of these sock creatures and sometimes the lighting in this film made actions difficult to understand. But again, there was a Herculean effort put into the writing and making of this film, and for that, I have to give SICK SOCK MONSTERS FROM OUTER SPACE props.

New this week On Demand from Osiris Entertainment!


Directed by Jim Lane
Written by Jeff Rosenberg
Starring Mikayla Gibson, Bill Oberst Jr., Joey Bell, David Brown, Elizabeth Castillo, Jamie B. Cline, Adam Dunnells, Leticia Farr, David Fernandez Jr., Bunny Gibson, Tim Gilberg, Omar Gooding, Reatha Grey, Willow Hale, Malek Hanna, Trae Ireland, Trent Kerpsack, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Amy Lindsay, Venk Modur, Charyse Monet, David Reynolds, Nailya Shakirova, Steven Vance, Dawn Vaughn
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

I am a big supporter of indie films. I also know that it is my duty to recommend the good to all of you and steer you all clear of the stanky films. While I admire some aspects of BETROTHED, simply for being a film made on the very cheap and created with the best intentions, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I were to recommend it.

BETROTHED is a film that borrows heavily from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, the original MOTHER’S DAY, and the cult classic SONNY BOY--four films I respect and love, but BETROTHED never really achieves anything more than simply copying aspects of all of these films together into one mess of a film. The story focuses on a family of hillbilly murderers in which the two brothers like to kidnap beautiful young women, rape them in front of their mother, and murder them when they prove not to be useful anymore. They end up kidnapping a mousey-voiced teenager (Mikayla Gibson) who attempts to escape over and over again to no avail and is chained to the house to wait for her upcoming wedding to one of the brothers. Meanwhile, a cop (Omar Gooding – son of Cuba) goes for the Oscar in every scene unsuccessfully as he attempts to track down the missing teen and put the family behind bars.

The biggest problem with this film is the fact that the camerawork is absolutely abysmal, coupled with horrendous editing that fails to cut the scene—especially when the actors obviously don’t know what to say or do. Many scenes are shot straight on from a far distance with very little variation from closeups to wider shots to capably accentuate the action taking place. Some of these actors actually are decent and have shown up in semi-legit films (Gooding has been in the BARBERSHOP movies…which are sort of legit) while some are obviously strippers or porn actresses (one of them is the porn actress who showed up in the quickly aborted Ted Cruz commercial), but either all of the takes were horrible, or the director had no idea how bad the lines were being delivered and didn’t know how to direct his cast to get what he wanted.

As with every low fi film starring Bill Oberst Jr., Bill Oberst Jr. is the best thing about BETROTHED. But the actor shows up extremely late in the film and immediately made we wish he would have had a greater role. Instead, this inbred offspring of many other better films simply exists to prove that not all horror is worth seeing.

New this week On Demand and digital download on iTunes and Amazon!


Directed by Michael Aguiar
Written by Michael Aguiar
Starring Sheyenne Rivers, John Hardy, Gabriel Lee, Matt Ganey, Arisia Aguiar, Jade Aguiar, Brent 'Clutch' Gaubatz, Liz M. Day, Terence Van Auken, Anthony Giovanni Elias, Inge Uys, Fran Rafferty, Cortney Razi, Isis Masoud, Amanda Millar, Courtney Taylor, Rohnja Morrow, Samantha Murphy, Tim Scholes, John Poteat, & Jeff Jenkins as the Laughing Mask!
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

I feel I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about THE LAUGHING MASK for years and finally, it is available on multiple platforms for all to see. It’s a film with an iconic lead character, the titular Laughing Mask, a vigilante who abducts those who escape the law and punishes them in sadistic and sometimes poetic ways.

Made as a police procedural—sort of a Batman style mystery without the costumed superhero, THE LAUGHING MASK tells the story of this sadistic killer, his various victims, and the investigators set to put him away. Right from the beginning, this is a film that feels like it was made by comic book readers. The frames are set up like panels and the intro, which has the Laughing Mask torturing and killing a woman strapped in a chair, freezes its frames at key moments and animates them, once again driving home the point that this is a dark comic book movie sans the actual comic book. This style is prevalent throughout the film and being a comic book freak myself, I appreciated this aspect of the film.

I also found the Laughing Mask’s methods of punishment to be equal parts creative and grueling as he puts together a sort of funhouse carnival attraction ride putting his various victims in displays reminiscent of a circus sideshow. The Laughing Mask uses all forms of horrific edged, blunt, and even fiery weapons to turn these malfeasants into carnival attractions all of which are brutal, but terrifically realized with absolutely gross special effects.

THE LAUGHING MASK wobbles in terms of plot as it sort of loses steam midway through after a strong start. The acting throughout the film is simply ok and the story does contain some decent twists towards the end of the film, but the film mainly sparkles in terms of having a pitch black soul, a nice appetite for gore, and an appreciation for the dark vigilantism one sees a lot of in comics. It’s an imperfect film that shows that the people behind it that show the potential to do bigger things with whatever their next project is.

New this week on BluRay from Arrow Films/MVD Visual!


Directed by Gilles Penso
Written by Gilles Penso
Starring Ray Harryhausen, Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Tim Burton, John Landis, Henry Selick, Ray Bradbury, Tony Dalton, Nick Park, Randall William Cook, Phil Tippett, Steven Spielberg, Dennis Muren, Steve Johnson, Joe Dante, Vincenzo Natali, John Lasseter, Ken Ralston, Robert Townson, Christopher Young, John Cairney, Greg Broadmore, Andrew R. Jones, Martine Beswick, Vanessa Harryhausen, Colin Arthur, Caroline Munro
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

If you’re a regular reader of this site, then there is no valid reason not to own this documentary focused on the master of stop motion “dynamation,” Ray Harryhausen. SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN is a tribute to one of the most influential people in all of geekdom.

RAY HARRYHAUSEN: SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN effectively opens with shots of some of the most influential sci fi and horror movies of all time. It then lets us know that none of those films would have been possible if not for Ray Harryhausen and all of this is absolutely true. Harryhausen was indeed a titan, not only in special effects, but in direction as well, as the man, for the most part, directed the extensive stop motion animation sequences in so many movies in order to bring his models to vivid life. The film credits Harryhausen as the only special effects guy that had this type of prestige that directors would simply sit back and let him do his thing in order for the best possible results. And while I agree that Harryhausen was most likely the first effects man to have this honor, I think Tom Savini should he included in this prestigious group as directors would often leave him to make sure his creations were shot in a way that highlighted the best of his effects.

The doc covers only small bits and pieces of Harryhausen’s formative years, stating that he was heavily influenced when he saw KING KONG at the age of fourteen and decided to teach himself how to do the type of stop motion animation and animatronics he witnessed on screen. Instead, the story serves as a cross-section of Harryhausen’s work through the ages, spanning time by covering each movie he worked on in the order in which they were made. In doing so, we get to see Harryhausen evolve and perfect his craft.

The film has interviews from pretty much everyone and anyone you can imagine in the sci fi and horror industry from Spielberg to Jackson, from Del Toro to Bradbury, giving each of them a chance to express how much of an influence Harryhausen was in their work. I especially love to hear Bradbury reminisce about how he first met Harryhausen and how he proclaimed that he and Ray would be very good friends as soon as he met him. It was also fun to see JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS star jokingly state that there were actual actors in the film as well as Harryhausen’s effects. Seeing these old timers talk about their actual experiences with Ray interested me more than these big time directors and effects men talking about how much his work influenced them.

Personally, my favorite Harryhausen effect is a toss up between the iconic Medusa sequence from CLASH OF THE TITANS and the six armed goddess Kali from THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD. But them there’s the Skeleton Warriors and the Talos statue from JASON & THE ARGONAUTS…and the Ymir from 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH…fuck, I can’t decide. I love them all. And if you don’t, the only understandable reason would be because you haven’t seen the films and if you haven’t, GO SEE THESE FILMS. Or just watch RAY HARRYHAUSEN: SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN as it gives you a taste of the heights this master of iconic genre imagery reached. There is no acceptable reason for not owning this film for yourself.

This new BluRay contains deleted scenes from the documentary, new interviews with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Peter Lord, and Rick Baker, as well as an audio commentary from the filmmakers, Harryhausen q & a’s from London Gate Theatre and Paris Cinematheque, and a trailer reel of Harryhausen films. Go get this already!

Coming soon!


Directed by Tom Danger
Written by Tom Danger
Starring Jace Pickard, Alannah Robertson, Tim Page, Logan Webster, Tom Danger, Addi Craig, Val Athanassiou, Rose Cooper, Adib Attie, Billy Cabrito, Brenda Donnelly, Linden Drew, Alex Fechine, Jesse-Michael Franciskovic, Sarah Harper, Bryce Holland, Jessica Keys, Stephen McDonald, Dave Morgan
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

This is one indie film that makes up for its rough low budget edges with strong ideas and an even stronger script.

Stolen as a child and raised by a feral, monster of a man with a pack of wolves, Alexis was eventually found by the police and sent to an orphanage where his doctor (Tim Page) attempts to reeducate the child how to function in modern society. Released as an adult Alexis (played by Jace Pickard) attempts to have a normal relationship with his girlfriend Lacey (Alannah Robertson), but when he loses control and kills a gang member who threatens his girl, Alexis topples the fragile house of cards he has built for himself and once he has unleashed the beast within, it’s hard to put that monster back in its cage. Now a gang of thugs are after him, Lacey is terrified of what her boyfriend is capable of, and Alexis struggles to keep his more monstrous side under control.

As you can see from the description above, there is a lot going on with this movie. The script is solid. There are tons of little twists and turns. And while there are moments that reminded me of the old “evil gang” movies like THE WARRIORS and CLASS OF 1984 and the psychologist and his ill-fated patient relationship reminded me of Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers from the first few HALLOWEEN’s, none of it felt like direct copies from these films. As a whole, it reads like a fun mix of old ideas in a new way, especially when you throw in the feral child scenario.

The strength of the story makes up for the fact that this most likely was done on a shoestring budget. There are some acting issues here as the emotion the script calls for isn’t quite reached by Pickard and Robertson (though Tim Page adds some solid work to the film as the cautious, yet caring doctor) and some sound issues here and there. But I’m much more forgiving of that type of thing when the story is compelling enough and LEAD ME ASTRAY has such a story going for it.

Appreciators of indie horror are going to want to seek out LEAD ME ASTRAY as it mixes horror subgenres deftly and manages to have quite a vicious and gruesome tone.

And finally…it’s another spooky episode of LIGHT’S OUT. This one is a tale of mind over matter, plus an explanation of the tagline “It is later than you think” from the Youtube Southbridge Old Time Radio station called “Come to the Bank!”

See ya next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on

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